The Juhu beach on Tuesday was spotted with khaki, as the Maharashtra government has deployed more than 1,000 police personnel to ensure that the Chhat puja passes off without any untoward incident.
The police team will keep an all-night vigil on the beach in the backdrop of the recent violence against north Indians in Mumbai.
The city’s other 18 beachfront venues, too, had tight security arrangements. The festivities began at 12 o’clock on Tuesday and will continue till 10.00 am on Wednesday.
Deputy chief minister R. R. Patil, who also holds the home portfolio, said, “Security has been beefed up to ensure safety to the devotees. Since nobody has objected to the puja, I urge the people to step out of their homes and perform the puja.”
Joint commissioner of police K.L. Prasad (law and order) said as a preventive measure, the police detained over 2,000 “trouble-makers”.
However, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had assured that they were not against the Chhat puja.
The police have also installed close-circuit televisions on all the 19 venues. Patil added, “We have installed extra lights and there will be lifeguards for the devotees’ safety.” Also, police personnel will also be posted on all the approach roads.
“We do not foresee any disturbances, as this is a religious gathering. We are sure that with the police out in large numbers, the celebrations will pass off as usual,” said Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam, who organised the puja on the Juhu beach.
The violence against north-Indians,who the Navnirman Sena blames for eating into Marathis’ job opportunities, has virtually split the leadership at the Centre along regional lines and Chhat puja would be closely watched.